Somehow the Edgerton City Council isn’t embarrassed.
With one of the highest mill levy rates in the state, Edgerton officials are choosing not to lower it even though they’re sitting on a giant pot of cash worth $615,000 per year. A KCP&L power plant the city annexed will be on the tax rolls for next year’s $2.2 million general fund budget, and it’s property taxes make up almost a third of the city’s operating expenses.
The average home in Edgerton has an assessed valuation of $127,000, and pays an estimated $2,000 in property taxes per year. On average, too, Edgerton residents pay $13.30 per month or $159.60 per year for trash services. A subsidization of those services would lower that payment to $79.80 per year.
Instead of offering its citizens – who pay one of the highest mill levy’s in the state a tax break, Edgerton council members decided to subsidize a portion of citizens’ trash bills. That amounts to a $13.30 savings in trash collection fees each year.
Edgerton citizens should be appalled at their council for several reasons.
First, the decision is the council’s way of directly telling Edgerton residents: We know what is the best use of your money. We’ll go ahead and keep it and spend it in a way that’s far better than any way you decide.
And now, the subsidized trash service will be a line item in the Edgerton budget for years to come. The council will never be able to get away from subsidizing trash services. That means when trash rates go up, so will your property tax bills. It’s highly unusual for subsidies to be taken away once given.
Third, Heidi Wiseman told the council the trash deal gives everyone the same thing – rather than giving breaks to taxpayers based on their actual tax bills.
“Everybody across the board gets the same thing,” she said.
Council member Ken Gillespie expressed similar thoughts saying said he supported subsidized trash services, since that would be a savings that would be the same for all residents and not based on a home’s assessed valuation.
But those telling, socialist-sounding comments about spreading the wealth around weren’t nearly as telling as the comments of council member Jody Brown.
“If we lower the mill levy, we’ll get less from the KC Logistics Park,” he told council members during a July 15 work session.
And there Edgerton citizens have it. City administrator David Dillner promised that with the addition of the intermodal and logistics park to Edgerton tax rolls, citizens could look forward to a mill rate decrease in coming years. But – since the neighboring logistics park will receive a 75 percent tax abatement, the remainder of Edgerton taxpayers won’t be allowed to pay less on their tax bills if Brown has his way.
A tax decrease for Edgerton residents means the logistics park owners pay less, too. And they’re already getting a 75 percent discount.
So, Edgerton residents are shackled with one of the state’s highest mill levies that won’t be decreasing on Brown’s watch – even with the addition of a power plant and a logistics hub that was specifically sold to residents as something that may lower the tax rate.
Edgerton council members may not be embarrassed by what transpired during their budget talks, but we’re embarrassed for them.